Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sound Mirrors

If you are a fan of electronic music chances are you know who Coldcut are. Jonathan More and Matt Black began as beatmakers to popstars, writing and producing (and winning Producer Of The Years awards at the Brits) for Yazz and Lisa Stansfield in the late '80s. Then they formed the seminal label NinjaTune, whose roster of leftfield artists have soundtracked so much of the last 10 years of my life. They hosted Solid Steel, a pioneering UK radio show that had them throwing down legendary mix sets. This week Coldcut released their first new LP in 8 years. Called Sound Mirrors, it's the follow up to 1997's Let Us Play. That album was full of good intentions and ideas but was ultimately unsatisfying to this listener - too much hodge-podge, too many ideas not fully explored, too far out in places. The new album is just as full of ideas and guests - John Spencer, Mike Ladd, Roots Manuva, Andrew Broder(Fog) and Robert Owens all represent - but to me it all sounds a lot more coherent. The production on it is definitely better - the tracks are warmly produced, and feature a dazzling mash up of electronics, real instrumentation and genres. It covers soulful Bristolian pop, rap rock a la Beck, folktronica, avant jazz, electro ragga hip hop and everything in between. It falters in a few places for me - the spoken word bit that features Saul Williams - I'm just not big on the spoken word thing. My instant fave on it is True Skool (Featuring Roots Manuva). It's a killer hip hop, ragga groove that has Roots riffing over a booming beat and bassline combo that drops in snippets of disco strings and Indian music, and it's probably the duo's most poptastic moment in years. It's refreshing to hear the duo drop such accessible stuff in the middle of all the experimentation. A very nice record indeed.

Best Music News I've Heard All Week
It's about time. Byrne & Eno Revisit Bush Of Ghosts. On March 28th I will be standing outside the record store, money in hand, waiting to get in and buy the remastered and expanded (with SEVEN NEW TRACKS) My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. "The extra tracks on the reissue, "Pitch to Voltage," "Two Against Three," "Vocal Outtakes," "New Feet," "Defiant," "Number 8 Mix" and "Solo Guitar With Tin Foil," are bolstered by a film for album track "Mea Culpa" by Bruce Connor." Can you feel my excitement?

No comments: